The Authenticity Hoax PDF Ú The Authenticity Epub /

The Authenticity Hoax ✮ [PDF] ✩ The Authenticity Hoax By Andrew Potter ✻ – “A totally real genuine authentic book about why you shouldn’t believe any of those words And it’s genuinely good” — Gregg Easterbrook author of Sonic BoomExploring a number of trends in our “A totally real genuine authentic book about why you shouldn’t believe any of those words And it’s genuinely good” — Gregg Easterbrook author of Sonic BoomExploring a number of trends in our popular culture—from Sarah Palin to Antiues Roadshow organic food to the indignation over James Frey’s memoir—Andrew Potter follows his successful Nation of Rebels with a new book that argues that our pursuit of the authentic is fraught with irony and self defeat Readers of The Paradox of Choice or Bowling Alone will find many enlightening insights in The Authenticity Hoax which is The Authenticity Epub / in the words of Tom de Zengotita Mediated “the kind of criticism that changes minds”.

10 thoughts on “The Authenticity Hoax

  1. Buck Buck says:

    The new IKEA catalogue just arrived in my mailbox The cover shows a pair of tykes sunk in matching EKTORP armchairs 499 each One kid is reading a storybook; the other appears to be dozing with her bare feet resting fraternally—or I guess sororally—on the outstretched legs of her sister Surmounting this tranuil scene is the slogan ‘Hooray for the everyday’ This is a gutsy choice of mottoes not least because it echoes The Simpsons’ Up with People parody ‘Hooray for Everything’ Since I can’t believe there’s nobody in IKEA’s brain trust young and alert enough to have caught this near uotation I can only assume it’s meant to be taken as a sly allusion a knowing wink to the company’s target market ‘Yes okay we’re a little bit ridiculous with our meatballs and loganberry jam and our sober Swedish take on modern design but we’re also affordable and democratic and basically nice so come in and plunk down thirty bucks on a shelving unit and finally get a handle on the unsightly clutter in your home office’ Or maybe I’m giving IKEA too much credit in the intertextuality department and ‘hooray for the everyday’ is a flat unironic celebration of bourgeois domesticity a paean to all that’s homey and mundane and therefore an implicit repudiation of the kind of jokey knowingness my initial reading tried to locate in the slogan Also maybe I should shell out for that pendant lamp I've had my eye on and stop with the overanalyzing The everyday and I have always had a fraught relationship As a white urban precariously middle class Westerner I inhabit an everyday reality that’s largely furnished and accessorized by IKEA and their ilk Like everyone else with half a brain and a liberal arts degree I’m a tad ambivalent about this Wandering around the shopping mall on a Saturday afternoon I can’t help feeling baffled by and alienated from my culture I think this is the result of the Enlightenment? Lame architecture fake Gucci sunglasses and obese families sucking back Orange Juliuses in the food court? Is this what Kant Locke and all those guys had in mind when they mapped out the modern world?Then I realize how grouchy my inner voice sounds and I force myself to remember Roland Kirk the Charter of Rights casual blowjobs and all the other things I love about modern life Trying to be judicious I reflect that just maybe if I want human rights and the odd blowjob I have to put up with a certain amount of crappy Chinese merchandise and a certain hopefully finite number of Justin Bieber songs Yin and yang you know? This ambivalence then is the subject of The Authenticity Hoax a book that combines pop philosophy with snappy cultural criticism Andrew Potter’s main contention is that the search for authenticity—via organic food environmental do goodism and touchy feely stuff generally—is a vain exercise in status seeking He argues that the authenticinauthentic dichotomy is a false distinction that’s bewitched the Western imagination ever since Rousseau started telling everybody to keep it real To those who look wearily around The Gap and ask themselves if there isn’t perhaps something to life Potter basically offers the same answer Kramer once gave to Jerry ‘Let me clue you in on something there isn’t’ For the most part I’m on Potter’s side and I enjoyed watching him rip into Al Gore and those super annoying locavore people As a former philosophy prof at the University of Toronto he has a professional contempt for muddled thinking and a very Canadian way of expressing it calmly reasonably ever so slightly condescendingly But it’s a funny thing when I hear my own political beliefs coming out of someone else’s mouth they suddenly don’t seem so attractive to me—sort of like when Jerry found out his new girlfriend used to date Newman last Seinfeld reference I’ll make today I swear So when Potter advises us to accept the triumph of liberal democracy and just get over the end of history already I don’t disagree exactly but somehow I’m no longer in the mood to make out His line of argument has an uncomfortably Panglossian ring to it I mean if we’re living in the best of all possible systems then it follows that whatever happens in that system happens for the best right? I’m pretty happy with the system on the whole but I hope I never get that complacent about it It’s one thing to make fun of the ‘dopey nostalgia’ and reactionary silliness of the anti modern left Hell I’ve done it myself on this very website But the flip side—which Potter never acknowledges—is that we owe a lot to these Prius driving loonies Civil rights environmental protections health insurance these achievements weren’t brought about by cautious centrists by and large even if they were the ones who signed the bills The fact is we need a bit of spurious authenticity and giddy utopianism in the body politic We need Naomi Klein We may even need Noam Chomsky God help us all Because a world full of guys like Potter and me stuffing ourselves with non organic burgers and being snide isn’t a world even I would want to live in

  2. Dan Pecchenino Dan Pecchenino says:

    While this book contains many useful and easy to read glosses of philosophers it is essentially just a defense of consumerism and middle brow culture His basic advice is for us all to stop looking for meaning in our lives and to embrace the ease and comfort modernity has afforded us That is fine as far as it goes but it seems to me that in adopting this stance one runs the risk of stigmatizing all difference as merely authenticity hunting Whatever potential may be lying dormant in the cosmopolitanism of modernity the actual result of the globalization of the marketplace has been homogeneity and bad novels Potter's solution Don't worry be unhappy

  3. Cat Cat says:

    I read this book because NPR interviewed the author and I found one of his ideas very compelling that the pursuit of authenticity whether Slow Foods yoga rituals or isolated tourist destinations had become a contemporary form of conspicuous consumption This observation is limited and Potter's book relies on straw man arguments distraction and rhetorical gusto I will give him credit for a few strengths he writes very well and he provides clear and cogent introductions to some major modern philosophers introductions that I thought would be tremendously compelling in an undergrad philosophy course and that did not for the most part caricature the thinkersI cannot say he gave his opponents the same respect There are certain points in this book where Potter or less compares the authenticity drive of Islamic terrorists to the authenticity commerce of American elites finding both to be examples of the same regrettable tendency to critiue modernity In the final chapter of his book Potter basically embraces the idea of historical progress and condemns all of those who would resist the overall drive towards market values and liberal individualism since we are so much less likely to die of typhoid than our Apple computer avatars on the Oregon TrailThe fact that his argument is facetious oversimplified and really insulting to the political left that he maligns throughout the book never seems to occur to Potter because he's too taken with his own gifts of elouence and smarm Potter alludes to so many pop cultural moments Lady Gaga Mad Men Matrix Christian Bale rant on YouTube that you can tell how delighted he is with his own ironic hipster sensibility He treats any desire for a model of community or social responsibility as false consciousness embedded in the market economy's escalating uest for valuable and less attainable goodsThere are middle grounds here and complicating factors and while Potter makes a great show of defining his terms his critiue of the politically and culturally lamentable drive for the authentic relies on his instinct that his reader will not recognize how many different trends and attitudes he lumps under this term I wish someone this elouent and well read could turn his abilities to nuanced and compelling social commentary Basically he seems to be saying Modernity is good Get over it

  4. elisabeth elisabeth says:

    So good news I am not the only one who thinks she's a fraud Bad news we're all lame Andrew Potter's The Authenticity Hoax How We Get Lost Finding Ourselves explores what it means to be authentic and what Potter thinks is that it is basically just Jones' trying to keep up with Jones' driven by a need to feel special and good and right and fuelled by nostalgia for an ideal past that never wasI Loved itIt's a philosophy book I guess But one that does not cause rage induced seizures Potter calls out the cultindustry of authenticity on their worshippeddling of realness Those are my words As Potter puts it authenticity is motivated by a visceral reaction to secularism liberalism and capitalism and the sense that a meaningful life is not possible in the modern world that all it offers is a toxic mix of social climbing and alienation Philosophically heavy but it never feels heavy There are references to religion history politics art and philosophy but it is always related back to present day by using contemporary examples found in our popular culture making this book not only informative but funny and entertaining as wellI'm a chapter reader meaning I like to stop reading at the end of a chapter It has something to do with efficiency and time allotment and planning out the rest of my hour morning day But once and a while a writer will be really good at opening chapters and my plans get shot to smithereens because I just can't help taking a peek at the next one This book was like that All the chapters start with a story illustrating the main point and did it very well and screwed up my day accordinglyI recommend The Authenticity Hoax because it goes against the tide of everything is going to hell which is a nice change and there are lots of interesting facts like soap stone was introduced to the Inuit by the white man upsetting I know but also cool But mostly I appreciate the notion that we should relax and enjoy what our modern world has given us uestion those things that are touted as 'authentic' and be easier on the things we are asked to dismiss as fakeExcept that I will continue to mock suburbia and rail against SUVs and Katy Perry don't get me started on Katy Perry I will reread periodically

  5. Dianne Dianne says:

    There are many revelations about today's adult population's search for authenticity in The Authenticity Hoax He wishes politicians weren't afraid of going off message or of telling the style consultants to take a hike He describes the fake artificial inauthentic suburbs offering a mere imitation of real living to people brainwashed by advertising To uote Potter To cement their role as the midwives of the American dream General Motors Standard Oil and a few other companies bought the streetcar lines in a number of cities and tore up the tracks while the federal government instituted a massive road and highway construction plan that connected the increasingly hollow city cores with the booming suburbs Thus did the American way of life come to be identified with the automotive way of life and these families found themselves living in cookie cutter developments that offered neither the convenience and community of the city nor the privacy and charm of the country Instead they were stranded in a no man's land a vacant and sterile world from which the only means of escape was the automobile To these and many other ideas I was nodding my head and underlining favourite parts of this book up until Professor Potter became critical of David Suzuki Had he trashed Suzuki in the first chapter I would not have bothered to read the remainder of the book

  6. Emily Emily says:

    If you enjoy books with sentences like In this view liberalism is a narcissistic and even nihilistic philosophy having no conceptual room for values or allegiances that extend beyond the whims or desires of the self page 210 THEN THIS BOOK WILL ROCK YOUR WORLD If that bored the living crap out of you or you just plain old said Huh? then I think you are cool and I hope I have saved you some valuable reading time by giving you this heads up I'm not even kidding This book is totally loaded with philosophical mumbo jumbo I picked it up because I heard an interview on NPR where else? with the author and he was talking about how we so highly prize things like authentic 501 jeans and asked the uestion 'what makes them authentic'? That is indeed an awesome uestion And since I wear jeans I thought that I might enjoy the philosophical issues of them I probably would enjoy a shallow discussion like that but this book was too smart for me I have a degree in geology so essentially I have rocks in my head which makes the grand philosophies of Nietzsche and Rousseau way past my understanding There was a few short paragraphs about Avril Lavigne I did enjoy those They were shallow enough for me

  7. Douglas Wilson Douglas Wilson says:

    This was in many ways a wonderful book The author is writing from a secular standpoint and so his solution to the problem he describes is pretty thin but he doesn't spend most of his time trying to sketch a solution Most of the book is a description of the problem and here he is far insightful than a host of Christian writers copy cats knock offs and wanna bees In Christian terminology our lust for authenticity is one of our central idolatries

  8. Mark Dickson Mark Dickson says:

    I'd separate this book into sections roughly 1 fairly interesting and relevant to the authenticity discussion 2 fairly interesting and not relevant to the authenticity discussion and 3 seething roiling vitriolWhile freuently enjoyable this book ultimately frustrates In an age in which we're very concerned about originals and actuals and authentics we want to know why a reproduction even if executed perfectly somehow feels like a sham Potter's thesis is that this uestion is itself irrelevant or dare I say inauthentic Want of authenticity is inauthentic or at the very least will not help us find or experience authenticity Wanting to be book is not bookOkay I could have guessed that from the title Potter attempts to back this deceptively simple hypothesis with several forays into social and philosophical history of authenticity pulling back the curtain and showing us that it's an intellectual and social construct All thing are authentic in the trivial sense and nothing is Authentic in the larger senseWhile these history lessons are generally enjoyable if you're into history andor philosophy it's not clear that they really further the book's thesis get us any closer to really understanding why our obsession with the authentic is bogus Perhaps a broader philosophical survey would have been illuminating Potter instead turns time and time again to his old pal Rousseau You get the impression that Potter is a Rousseau scholar and is repurposing academic papers at times When it isn't Rousseau Potter generally selects from only a small handful of other standbys While the bibliography tells us that this book is very well researched it's hard to shake the feeling that this is somehowpersonalThis is magnified of course but the third of the book that is pure seething anger Potter hates everything He hates fashion he hates health food he hates design he hates objects affectation decoration and really probably any form of constructed beauty People are all fools whiling away their time on pointless objects and endeavors overly concerned with their objectsSure Fine Most of the bands I liked in high school said as much I've seen Fight ClubIs that the most interesting that can be said about it? Isn't there something than simple social posturing that draws us to the authentic? While we may be able to agree that authenticity is indeed a construct it also functions totemically; it imbues our objects with a sort of magic makes them individual elevates them and reflects in part our uest to attain them In a sense then Potter is right The authentic always represents a want of authenticity And framed thusly it can be perverted by manufacturers and advertisers used to sell decided inauthentic products It's this side that seems to really get Potter's blood boiling And he correctly points out that it's the conceptual framework of authenticity that makes this possible But he seems to lose the deeper notion in which things seem meaningful rooted three dimensional We can and perhaps should lose the term but we shouldn't ditch the concept altogetherUltimately Potter must know this Otherwise he wouldn't know to ask why we're increasingly consumed with notions of authenticity As choice proliferates to the point of meaninglessness and objects are manufactured with next to no care it's not hard to see our interaction with the world happening on an increasingly two dimensional level We haven't merely been duped though; we are bothered on some core level Potter argues on one hand that our uest for the authentic is nothing new and that we're increasingly preoccupied on the other But why are we increasingly preoccupied? This uestion lies at the heart of The Authenticity Hoax Potter for his part seems to argue that the intellectual and social construct the hoax of authenticity is simple gaining traction It's a memeplex and we live in the age of memes The want of authenticity he would argue is a manufactured oneOn this point finally I must disagree The want of authenticity reflects something much deeper that Potter only scratches the surface of As an analysis of the social and intellectual history of the concept of authenticity this is a worthwhile if rather incomplete read The larger discussion however could have been and has been numerous times incisively summed up in an article

  9. Anita Dalton Anita Dalton says:

    Reasonably interesting look at how it is a uest for a authentic life often leaves us feeling dissatisfied I'm still digesting it but ultimately I think I agree with the notion that excessive identification with a specific notion of being like health veganism crunch granola mommies and similar lead to self absorption and makes social contact difficult But I'm still thinking about whether or not I agree wholly with the author's perspective

  10. Tracy Tracy says:

    This was a fun interesting read although I did get bogged down somewhere in the middle due to trying to read it during nightshift instead of when I was properly awake Andrew Potter's premise is that modern society and its comforts have led us to a place where we fear we have lost authenticity We yearn for a time long ago when we played outside drank pure water didn't worry about melanoma when we are out in the sun ate foods not contaminated by chemicals I suppose what we are really yearning for is the innocence of childhood Good things were better bad things were scarier hell for instance Now we all at the same foods drink the same beers shop in the same stores wear the same clothing and this has made us fear that we are now inauthentic leading us to feel insecure and causing us to attempt and to find authenticity in our lives The problem is the we search for authenticity the pathetic we become It was a little off putting to realize that the things that make me feel smug and better than other lesser mortals are the same experiences that make other people feel smug and better as well

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